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United States Court of International Trade
Judge Delissa A. Ridgway
Delissa A. Ridgway was sworn in as a Judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade in May 1998. The Court of International Trade – which is based in New York – is a nine-member federal trial court with exclusive nationwide jurisdiction over matters involving U.S. international trade and customs laws.
Prior to her appointment to the Court, Judge Ridgway served as Chair of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the U.S. (“FCSC”), an independent quasi-judicial agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. The FCSC’s primary mission is to adjudicate claims by U.S. nationals (corporations and individuals) against foreign governments under special claims programs. In her capacity as Chair of the Commission, Judge Ridgway served as both the administrative head of the agency and the president of the three-member international tribunal.
FCSC accomplishments during Judge Ridgway’s tenure included the Holocaust Survivors Claims Program (involving 1,350+ claims by U.S. survivors of the Holocaust against Germany), the Albanian Claims Program (including approximately 325 claims against Albania for expropriations of property by the former Communist regime in that country), and completion of the Iran Claims Program (involving 3,100+ cases against Iran arising out of the 1979 Islamic Revolution there).
Before her 1994 appointment to the FCSC by President Clinton, Judge Ridgway was a member of the International Practice Group at Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge in Washington, D.C. She is a recognized authority in the areas of international commercial law, international transactions and international commercial arbitration/litigation, and has published and lectured widely.
Judge Ridgway is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law on the international law faculty of Cornell Law School, and has previously taught International Business Transactions and International Commercial Arbitration in the LL.M. program at American University in Washington, D.C. She has also lectured in Georgetown University Law Center’s Summer Law Program in Florence. Judge Ridgway has served as a consultant to organizations including the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, the Helsinki Commission, the Council of Europe, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, the Agency for International Development and the U.S. Information Agency (advising developing countries on matters of international law, the rule of law and commercial law reform). In addition, while in private practice, she was a member of the panels of both the ICC International Court of Arbitration (Paris) and the American Arbitration Association, and served as arbitrator, counsel or secretary to the tribunal in arbitrations under the rules of most of the major arbitral institutions.
Judge Ridgway has traveled widely, in North America, South America, Western and Eastern Europe (including Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, as well as Russia), Scandinavia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. She also has extensive experience in media relations, including both print and electronic media. Her radio and TV appearances have included NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and C-Span, as well as NPR.
Judge Ridgway is a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, with a history of leadership in bar and community activities. She is a Charter Fellow of the Federal Bar Foundation, served for nearly a decade on the National Council of the FBA, and has held national offices in both the International Law and Administrative Law Sections of that association. In addition, she served for seven years on the Board of Governors of the 65,000-member District of Columbia Bar and is a past Secretary of that organization. A long time member of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Ridgway also served as President (1992-93) of the 2,000-member Women’s Bar Association and on the Boards of various charitable organizations. Appointed in 2002 to the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession, Judge Ridgway previously chaired the D.C. Bar Summit on Women in the Legal Profession and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the D.C. Conference on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession. She now serves as a Delegate to the United Nations, representing the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Judge Ridgway was recently named Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence for 2003 by the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was honored as Washington, D.C.’s “Woman Lawyer of The Year” for 2001, and was also the 2000 recipient of the Earl W. Kintner Award – the Federal Bar Association’s highest honor – for “outstanding achievement, distinguished leadership, and continuing participation” in bar activities nationwide. Her many other honors include the D.C. Bar’s Frederick B. Abramson Award, conferred on her in 1996, “in recognition of extraordinary service to the profession,” as well as her 1997 recognition by the FBA as one of four “Distinguished Women in International Law,” an honor she shared with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Singleton McAllister, General Counsel of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Judge Ridgway is a 1975 honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she completed coursework for an M.S. in Community/International Development. She received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1979.
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